Ever since Frank Tannenbaum argued about the nature of the relationship between the Catholic Church and slavery in the New World, religion has been an important subject for scholars working on the history of slavery in the Americas.1 Ecclesiastical records provide an important documentary source, and church archives in Brazil, Cuba, and the Spanish circum-Caribbean provide the longest serial data available for the history of Africans in the Americas, beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing through almost the end of the nineteenth century. Many also offer insights into African history. Catholic parish registers record data on African baptisms, marriages, and burials. In addition to providing critical demographic statistics on the African populations in the Americas, these records provide detailed information on ethnicity. Entries may record, when known, parents’ names and occasionally allude to birthplaces in Africa. These ethnic and geographic markers will enable scholars to track the history...

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